Free culture!

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We all need a bit of cul-cha in our lives, no? And no, going to the cinema doesn’t really count. I mean the historic, artistic, creative, beautiful bona fide culture, the stuff that brings so many millions of visitors to Paris every year just for the sole reason of soaking it up. The architecture, museum, art gallery, stately home kind of culture.

Now, Paris being Paris, entry to such mind-broadening delights can be on the pricey side, the city being keen to profit from, as well as show off, its bounty of cultural treats (and why on earth shouldn’t it?). But to prove its dedication to making sure that culture is accessible to all, the city generously throws open the doors to many of its most popular attractions on the 1st sunday of every month and invites any willing takers in for free.

The list of participating venues is long and varied, catering to most cultural tastes. At this time of year (ie. off-peak season), there’s a whole lot more on offer to see than in the summer, when the programme becomes slightly reduced. So this sunday (2nd Feb) is the time to head to some of Paris’ must-see gems including the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the towers of Notre Dame, the Pantheon and the Conciergerie, where the entry price, is well, nada.

Just a word of advice though, like an ice-cream stall on a hot sunny day, the queues can be as breathtaking as the culture, so you’re going to want to be a little bit strategic with your timing, and head there at the crack of dawn or at the last minute. And if hanging out with swarms of people really isn’t your thing, then I’d suggest giving the whole thing a miss altogether, or at least trying to select some of the more obscure venues on the list. For a comprehensive list, check out http://www.parisinfo.com.

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